How to Wet Felt over a Vase
The Tall Vase Before and After It Was Wet Felted
Find the Right Shape Vase!
- Get the right shaped vase for this project. I scoured thrift shops for quite a while before I found exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something simple and elegant. I wanted it to have flat sides but I could equally have chosen a round one which would have worked just as well. In fact, I could have opened up the wool roving and wound it around the vase to simplify things but I did not know this at the time. I just knew that I wanted the end result to be spectacular and I think I achieved that!
- I chose roving fibre for the base because it is reasonably priced and you can get a lot of wool for your money if it is not dyed. You can choose any color you fancy. The surface fibres can be made up of scraps of wool, silk fibres or even dyed Teesdale curls for texture. Go wild and experiment with lots of colour. white Merino wool
- This project is a wonderful one for Art Students whose course requires them to produce something interesting and unique for an assignment. The beauty of wet felting is that no two projects ever turn out quite the same! Wet felting is not what one can call call an exact science!
- I do love the idea of combining art with recycling, so I hope you will enjoy doing this tutorial.
- Having never tackled a felting project quite as large as this one at the time, I recall being very curious to know how it would work out. I completed this project in just one sitting. After several years of working with wool, I now realize that projects like this one are sometimes best tackled in easy stages. There is simply no need to feel pressured to complete this or any other project in a day.
- The important thing is to remember to wet the fibers before you continue with it over the days ahead.
- A round or flat sided tall porcelain vase. (A simple plain vase is key to the success of this project)
- A quantity of white Merino wool roving suitable for felting
- Decorative silk threads, dyed Merino roving or Teesdale curls
- A squeeze bottle
- Hot soapy water, dishwashing liquid or olive oil soap grated and diluted in water.
- A towel for soaking up any moisture
- A waterproof surface on which to work.
- A small piece of folded bubble wrap to rub the project with
- Curtain netting
Step 1— Turn the Vase Upside Down and Wet with a Sponge
- Put a towel down onto a waterproof surface.
- Wet the base of the vase with a damp cloth before you add the fibers to the vase.
- Place the vase upside down on the towel and begin by putting three layers of Merino fibers down onto the base of the vase.
- Leave the overlapping edges dry.
The Base of the Vase
Step 2—Cover the Base With 3 Layers of White Fibers
- Put down the 3 layers.
Step 3—Cover with Curtain Netting.
- Wet with hot soapy water and rub well.
- Keep the fibers on the edges dry so that these can easily attach themselves to the fibers which are added to the sides.
Covered with Curtain Netting, Wet & Rub Well
Step 4—Remove the Curtain Netting
- Remove the curtain netting when the fibers below are wet and flattened against the base of the vase.
- Keep the loose fibers on the edges dry.
Removing the Curtain Netting
The Flattened Wet Fibers Revealed
Step 5—Lay the Vase Down on one Side
- Put the vase down on one side and continue adding white fibers.
- Allow the fibers to overlap the edges.
Step 6—Wet the Side of the Vase Using a Sponge
- Wet the vase to make it easier for the fibers to stick to the vessel.
Step 7—Put Down a Further Layer of Fibers
- Each layer should be put down with the fibres at 90 degrees to the previous layer so that they don't all face one direction.
Adding Wool to the Sides
Step 8—Cover in 3 Layers of Wool
- As with the bottom layer all sides should be covered with three layers of white wool.
3 Layers of Fibers
Step 9—Cover With the Curtain Netting
- Wet the 3 layers of wool with hot soapy water.
- Leave the fibres on the edge dry.
- Rub until the fibres until they have fused sufficiently to allow you to move on to the next area.
Wetting the Wool Below the Curtain Netting
Step 10—Remove the Curtain Netting
- After rubbing, remove the curtain netting.
- The edges can clearly be seen here to be dry.
- The dry wool will assist the fibres to attach themselves to an adjoining side.
Removing the Curtain Netting
Step 11—Continue Adding Fibers to the Rest of the Vase
- Work around the whole of the vase adding 3 layers of merino fibres to each side.
Adding Fibers to 1 Side
Step 12 Cover with Netting and Wet and Rub Well with Hot Soapy Water
- Continue to add white wool, wet and cover with netting.
- Rub and move onto the next area.
Wetting with hot Soapy Water
Step 13—Smooth Down the Fibers
The fibres should be smoothed down and rubbed firmly before you move onto the next area.
Remember to leave the edges dry so that they can easily be wrapped around the edges.
Wet and rub them well.
The Smoothed Fibres with Dry Edges
Step 14—Cover 1 Side of the Vase at a Time
- Add the fibres, one side at a time.
- As can be seen here, the dry fibres were wrapped around the edges.
- They were then made wet with hot soapy water and rubbed to make a neat edge.
Step 15—3 Layers of Woolen Fibers on 1 Side
- Put down 3 Layers to each side
Applying the Layers of White Fibre
Step 16—Cover with the Curtain Netting
Cover with curtain netting and wet with hot soapy water.
Wetting the Fibres Below
Step 17—The Final Layer of White Wool
- Apply the final layer of white wool.
Step 18— Cover with Curtain Netting
- Wet and Rub the Fibres below with Hot Soapy Water
Wetting the Fibres
Step 19—Cover with a Final Decorative Layer of Wool Roving
- Cover the white layers with a layer of decorative merino wool fibres.
Adding the Decorative Layer
Step 20—Cover the Decorative Layer with Curtain Netting
- Cover the decorative layer with curtain netting.
- Wet with hot soapy water and rub well.
Covered with Netting
Step 21—Continue Adding Color to the Vase
- Apply the decorative layer to all sides of the vase as before.
Step 22—Covering the Sides
- Cover all sides and the interior edges of the vase in a decorative layer of fibres.
Adding fibres to one Side
Step 23—Completely Cover the Vase
- Cover the sides completely with decorative fibers.
Adding Decorative Fibers to the Final Side
Step 24—Cover the Inside Edge of the Vase
- Apply the colored wool to the inside edge of the vase.
- Cover with curtain netting and add hot soapy water.
- Rub Well.
Fibres Added to the Inside Edges of the Vase
Step 25—Rub the Whole Vase with Bubblewrap Until the Vase is Completely Felted
- Work the whole of the vase, wetting and rubbing until the fibers shrink tight against the vase.
Rubbing Hard with Folded Bubblewrap
Step 26—The Fully Felted Wool Fibers
When the fibres have shrunk hard against the porcelain you can apply more hot and cold water in the sink.
This will help shrink back the fibres even further.
Give a final rinse of diluted vinegar and water to help neutralize any soap which is left behind in the fibres.
Allow the vase to dry out thoroughly in a well ventilated area.
Close up Detail
The Completed Vase
A Note on Making Felt Vessels
- There are many ways to achieve the same or a similar outcome when it comes to making or creating felt vessels. Take a little time to explore some of the different options available to you or develop your own ideas for making them.
- One option is to make a template which is about 40 percent larger than the vessel which you want to cover.
- Cover the template with 3 layers of wool and then roll the project inside a bamboo mat.
- Felt it a little in the tumble dryer for a while and then remove the template and put the vase into the 'pod' and felt the wool against the vase. Alternatively, you can make the vessel self-supporting like the bird pod in the Tutorial below.
- Use a balloon or ball and even the tumble dryer and make the vessel self-supporting without the need for a vase support.
- The tumble dryer will happily do a lot of the hard work for you!
- Remember to have fun and let those creative juices flow
Felting With Sallybea
© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen